Courses

PH Guidelines Regarding P/F for Spring ’20 and ’20-’21 Academic Year

Below is a list of courses that can count towards a public health concentration.

Core Course

PHLH 201(S) SEM Dimensions of Public Health

Public health is concerned with protecting and improving health at the level of a community or population. Although individual behavior is an essential element of public health, collective, rather than individual, outcomes are the focus of public health study. In this course we will survey the field of public health, introducing students to core concepts and methods that highlight the interrelationship of individual choice and social institutions with environmental and biological factors in producing health outcomes at the population level. We will develop these concepts and methods within the context of signal cases and public health crises. [ more ]

PHLH 402(S) SEM Senior Seminar in Public Health

The capstone seminar provides concentrators with the opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize their experiential learning in the context of understanding gained from a cohesive set of elective courses, and through the lens of a variety of intellectual and disciplinary frameworks. A second goal is to give concentrators experience working in a multi-disciplinary team to address a real-world, and in many cases very daunting, public health problem. Students will read, discuss, and compose written reflections on primary source empirical papers addressing a range of issues and disciplines in the field of public health. For example, topics may include the social determinants of health, environmental health risks, and access to health care. Students will also be divided into small research teams to interact with local organizations and investigate a contemporary real-life issue in public health. The capstone course is required of all concentrators, but may be opened to other students with relevant experience at the discretion of the instructor and the advisory committee, if space permits. [ more ]

Statistics Courses

  • STAT 101(F, S) LEC Elementary Statistics and Data Analysis

    It is impossible to be an informed citizen in today's world without an understanding of data. Whether it is opinion polls, unemployment rates, salary differences between men and women, the efficacy of vaccines, etc, we need to be able to interpret and gain information from statistics. This course will introduce the common methods used to analyze and present data with an emphasis on interpretation and informed decision making. [ more ]

    STAT 161(F, S) LEC Introductory Statistics for Social Science

    This course will cover the basics of modern statistical analysis with a view toward applications in the social sciences. Topics include exploratory data analysis, linear regression, basic statistical inference, and elements of probability theory. The course focuses on the application of statistical tools to solve problems, to make decisions, and the use of statistical thinking to understand the world. [ more ]

    PSYC 201(F, S) LEC Experimentation and Statistics

    An introduction to the basic principles of research in psychology. We focus on how to design and execute experiments, analyze and interpret results, and write research reports. Students conduct a series of research studies in different areas of psychology that illustrate basic designs and methods of analysis. You must register for lab and lecture with the same instructor. [ more ]

    STAT 201(F, S) LEC Statistics and Data Analysis

    Statistics can be viewed as the art and science of turning data into information. Real world decision-making, whether in business or science is often based on data and the perceived information it contains. Sherlock Holmes, when prematurely asked the merits of a case by Dr. Watson, snapped back, "Data, data, data! I can't make bricks without clay." In this course, we will study the basic methods by which statisticians attempt to extract information from data. These will include many of the standard tools of statistical inference such as hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and linear regression as well as exploratory and graphical data analysis techniques. This is an accelerated introductory statistics course that involves computational programming and incorporates modern statistical techniques. [ more ]

    STAT 202(F, S) LEC Introduction to Statistical Modeling

    Data come from a variety of sources: sometimes from planned experiments or designed surveys, sometimes by less organized means. In this course we'll explore the kinds of models and predictions that we can make from both kinds of data, as well as design aspects of collecting data. We'll focus on model building, especially multiple regression, and talk about its potential to answer questions about the world -- and about its limitations. We'll emphasize applications over theory and analyze real data sets throughout the course. [ more ]

    POEC 253(F) LEC Empirical Methods in Political Economy

    This course introduces students to common empirical tools used in policy analysis and implementation. The broad aim is to train students to be discriminating consumers of public policy-relevant research. The emphasis in the course is on intuitive understanding of the central concepts. Through hands-on work with data and critical assessment of existing empirical social scientific research, students will develop the ability to choose and employ the appropriate tool for a particular research problem, and to understand the limitations of the techniques. Topics to be covered include basic principles of probability; random variables and distributions; statistical estimation, inference and hypothesis testing; and modeling using multiple regression, with a particular focus on understanding whether and how relationships between variables can be determined to be causal--an essential requirement for effective policy formation. Throughout the course, the focus will be on public policy applications relevant to the fields of political science, sociology, and public health, as well as to economics. [ more ]

    ECON 255(F, S) LEC Econometrics

    An introduction to the theory and practice of applied quantitative economic analysis. This course familiarizes students with the strengths and weaknesses of the basic empirical methods used by economists to evaluate economic theory against economic data. Emphasizes both the statistical foundations of regression techniques and the practical application of those techniques in empirical research, with a focus on understanding when a causal interpretation is warranted. Computer exercises will provide experience in using the empirical methods, but no previous computer experience is expected. Highly recommended for students considering graduate training in economics or public policy. [ more ]

    STAT 335 LEC Biostatistics and Epidemiology

    Last offered Spring 2021

    Epidemiology is the study of disease and disability in human populations, while biostatistics focuses on the development and application of statistical methods to address questions that arise in medicine, public health, or biology. This course will begin with epidemiological study designs and core concepts in epidemiology, followed by key statistical methods in public health research. Topics will include multiple regression, analysis of categorical data (two sample methods, sets of 2x2 tables, RxC tables, and logistic regression), survival analysis (Cox proportional hazards model), and a brief introduction to regression with correlated data. [ more ]

    STAT 372(S) LEC Longitudinal Data Analysis

    This course explores modern statistical methods for drawing scientific inferences from longitudinal data, i.e., data collected repeatedly on experimental units over time. The independence assumption made for most classical statistical methods does not hold with this data structure because we have multiple measurements on each individual. Topics will include linear and generalized linear models for correlated data, including marginal and random effect models, as well as computational issues and methods for fitting these models. As time permits, we will also investigate joint modeling of longitudinal and time-to-event data. We will consider many applications in the social and biological sciences. [ more ]

    STAT 410 LEC Statistical Genetics

    Last offered Fall 2019

    Genetic studies explore patterns of genetic variation in populations and the effect of genes on diseases or traits. This course provides an introduction to statistical and computational methods for genetic studies. Topics will include Mendelian traits (such as single nucleotide polymorphisms), genome-wide association studies, pathway-based analysis, and methods for population genetics. Students will be introduced to some of the major computational tools for genetic analysis, including PLINK and R/Bioconductor. The necessary background in genetics and biology will be provided alongside the statistical and computational methods. [ more ]

    STAT 440 LEC Categorical Data Analysis

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This course focuses on methods for analyzing categorical response data. In contrast to continuous data, categorical data consist of observations classified into two or more categories. Traditional tools of statistical data analysis are not designed to handle such data and pose inappropriate assumptions. We will develop methods specifically designed to address the discrete nature of the observations and consider many applications in the social and biological sciences as well as in medicine, engineering and economics. All methods can be viewed as extensions of traditional regression models and ANOVA. [ more ]

Elective Courses

  • PHIL 211(S) TUT Ethics of Public Health

    From questions about contact tracing apps to racial and age disparities in health risk and outcomes, the COVID-19 pandemic has foregrounded the importance of ethics as a key concern in public health policies and activities. Moreover, the ethical issues that are implicated in responses to the pandemic reflect the range of those manifested across the field of public health as a whole. In this course, we will survey the ethics of public health through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic, investigating concepts and arguments that are central to the ethics of public health research and practice. For example, we will examine the ethics of disease surveillance, treatment and vaccine research, resource allocation and rationing, compulsion and voluntariness in public health measures, and social determinants of health outcomes, among other topics. To do this, we will need to become familiar with key ethical theories; think deeply about such concepts as privacy, paternalism and autonomy, exploitation, cost-benefit analysis and justice; and compare the function of these concepts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with the way they work in responses to other public health concerns. [ more ]

    PHIL 212 / STS 212 / WGSS 212 LEC Ethics and Reproductive Technologies

    Last offered Spring 2019

    In her groundbreaking book, The Tentative Pregnancy, Barbara Katz Rothman writes that "[t]he technological revolution in reproduction is forcing us to confront the very meaning of motherhood, to examine the nature and origins of the mother-child bond, and to replace--or to let us think we can replace--chance with choice." Taking this as our starting point, in this course we will examine a number of conceptual and ethical issues in the use and development of technologies related to human reproduction, drawing out their implications for such core concepts as "motherhood" and "parenthood," family and genetic relatedness, exploitation and commodification, and reproductive rights and society's interests in reproductive activities. Topics will range from consideration of "mundane" technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), prenatal genetic screening and testing, and surrogacy, to the more extraordinary, possibly including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), post-menopausal reproduction, and post-mortem gamete procurement. Background readings include sources rooted in traditional modes of bioethical analysis as well as those incorporating feminist approaches. [ more ]

    PHIL 213(F) TUT Biomedical Ethics

    Much like the construction of medical knowledge itself, it is from specific cases that general principles of biomedical ethics arise and are systematized into a theoretical framework, and it is to cases they must return, if they are to be both useful and comprehensible to those making decisions within the biomedical context. In this tutorial we will exploit this characteristic of biomedical ethics by using a case-based approach to examining core concepts of the field. The first portion of the course will be devoted to developing and understanding four moral principles which have come to be accepted as canonical: respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The remainder of the course will consider key concepts at the core of medical ethics and central issues for the field, such as privacy and confidentiality, the distinction between killing and "letting die," and therapy vs. research. To this end, each week we will (1) read philosophical material focused on one principle or concept, and (2) consider in detail one bioethics case in which the principle or concept has special application or relevance. In some weeks, students will be asked to choose from a small set which case they would like to address; in others the case will be assigned. [ more ]

    STS 227 Death and Dying

    Last offered NA

    In this course we will examine traditional philosophical approaches to understanding death and related concepts, with a special focus on the ethical concerns surrounding death and care for the dying. We will begin with questions about how to define death, as well as reflections on its meaning and function in human life. We will move on to examine ethical issues of truth-telling with terminally ill patients and their families, decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments, the care of seriously ill newborns, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and posthumous interests. In addition to key concepts of death, dying, and terminal illness, we will develop and refine notions of medical futility, paternalism and autonomy, particularly within the context of advance directives and surrogate decision making. [ more ]

    PHIL 228 / STS 228 / WGSS 228 LEC Feminist Bioethics

    Last offered Fall 2019

    In this course we will explore the ways in which feminist approaches to moral thinking have influenced both the methodology and the content of contemporary bioethics. The first portion of the course will address the emergence of the "Ethics of Care," critically assessing its origins in feminist theory, its development within the context of the caring professions, and its potential as a general approach to bioethical reasoning. The second portion of the course will use feminist philosophy to inform our understanding of the ways in which gender structures the individual's interactions with the health care system. To do this we will explore topics that might traditionally be considered "women's issues" in healthcare, such as medicine and body image (e.g., cosmetic surgery, eating disorders), reproductive and genetic technologies, and research on women and their health care needs. In addition we'll also look at feminist analyses of topics that traditionally have not been regarded as "gendered," such as resource allocation and end of life issues. [ more ]

    REL 246 / ANTH 246 / ASIA 246 / WGSS 246 TUT India's Identities: Nation,Community, & Individual

    Last offered Spring 2020

    This tutorial considers India's multiple and intersecting identities, in relation to climate emergencies, resource scarcities, and ongoing struggles for power and status across very different parts of India. We examine the intersectional identities that produce solidarity and opposition within landscapes always already structured by power and inequity. How do communal and individual identities such as gender, class, caste, sexuality or religion shape social conflict and ongoing struggles for power in India today? We examine key moments in Indian history that that continue to produce social conflict and fluidity such as Partition, the riots in Gujarat, Hyderabad, and Delhi that have shaped the modern landscape of communal identity, as well as the contested border such as Ladakh as well as Jammu & Kashmir. Our readings will include ethnographic, sociological, historical fiction, and oral history. Students choose their own topics to delve into for final weeks of the semester. [ more ]

    REL 248 / ANTH 248 / ASIA 248 / GBST 248 / WGSS 249 SEM Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia. [ more ]

    CHIN 253 / COMP 254 / WGSS 255 SEM "Illness" in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture

    Last offered Spring 2022

    From early modern anxieties about China's status as the "sick man of Asia" to contemporary concerns regarding the prospect of transnational pandemics, "illnesses" and their related stories have played a critical role in making and contesting individual psychologies and Chinese modernity in the 20th and 21st centuries. Actual illnesses, from tuberculosis to AIDS to the Novel Coronavirus, constitute not only social realities that trouble political and popular minds in their own right; but further provide powerful metaphors for exploring issues of human rights, national identity, and transnational circulation. This course examines how Chinese literature in the 20th and 21st centuries writes and visualizes "illness"--a universal human experience that is nevertheless heavily bounded by culture and history. Specifically, we examine the cultural and social meaning of "illness"; the relationship between illness on the one hand, and the politics of body, gender, and class on the other; we ask how infectious disease, and mental illness are defined, represented, and understood in both male and female writers' analytical essays and fictional writings in the 20th century; we examine how metaphorical "illness" such as infectious cannibalism and fin-de-siècle "viruses," are imagined and interpreted by key culture figures ranging from the founding father of modern literature (Lu Xun), to the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature (Mo Yan). Throughout the course, we will focus on the interplay between literature canons (fictions, essays, and dramas) and popular media and genres: blockbuster cinemas and art house films, popular novels, photographs and posters, etc. [ more ]

    PHIL 274 TUT Messing with People: The Ethics of Human Experimentation

    Last offered Spring 2017

    The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Stanley Milgram's Obedience experiments are infamous. Yet, other lesser known experiments are equally important landmarks in research ethics, as well, such as the Willowbrook experiment, in which residents of a state home for mentally impaired children were intentionally infected with a virus that causes hepatitis, and the Kennedy-Krieger Lead Abatement study, which tested the efficacy of a new lead paint removal procedure by housing young children in partially decontaminated homes and testing those children for lead exposure. In this tutorial we'll closely examine a series of contemporary and historical cases of human experimentation (roughly, one case per week) with an eye toward elucidating the moral norms that ought to govern human subjects research. A number of conceptual themes will emerge throughout the course of the term, including notions of exploitation and coercion, privacy and confidentiality, and the balance between public interests and individual rights. Specific issues will include the ethics of placebo research, deception in research, studies of illicit/illegal behavior, genetic research, experimentation with children, pregnant women and fetuses, and persons with diminished mental capacity, among other topics. [ more ]

    STS 311 / AMST 352 / ASIA 352 SEM Global Health in the Transpacific

    Last offered Spring 2022

    East is East, and West is West, Rudyard Kipling famously wrote in 1889, but never has this been true. Just as war, imperialism, and transnational flows of capital move people, cultures, and ideas across the Pacific, similar patterns of migration and mobility shape the transmission of illness and disease as well. This course explores global health and disease control as sites of domination and resistance in the Pacific Rim. Articulating the linkages between Asia/America, we will look at the racialization of people and pestilence during the third plague pandemic in Hong Kong and San Francisco, malaria control projects in colonial Southeast Asia, and the rise of modern genomics out of the ashes of Hiroshima and concern over radiation risk, and other cases, to understand how disregard for Asian bodies has shaped the development of modern medicine and public health. At the same time, Indonesia's claim of "viral sovereignty" to protect their biological specimens from Western intellectual property regimes and Hmong refugees' resistance to biomedical intervention in their struggles with mental illness offer counterpoints to Western hegemony. This course provides a critical examination of biosecurity as modern geopolitical struggle and puts Asia-Pacific and the Pacific Rim at the center of our exploration of global health. [ more ]

    Taught by: Shoan Yin Cheung

    Catalog details

    SOC 332 SEM Life and Death in Modernity

    Last offered Fall 2016

    Death is a biological fact. Death is also one of the few universal parameters in and through which social worlds and individual lives are created. Death, in other words, is a primary source of the material and symbolic activities through which humans work to construct, legitimate, and maintain social realities. To attend to "ways of death", then, is to attend simultaneously, if only indirectly, to "ways of life'--the hopes and fears, the ways and wants of a people. In this course we will ask: How, why, and with what manner of consequence has it come to be that, under late-western modernity, the aged, the sick, the dying, the bereaved, and indeed death itself, are routinely "set aside", hidden from view and thus awareness, institutionally sequestered from those of us among the living? We will attend to the historical emergence of the institutional forms that perpetrate this sequestration, and show how they have become tightly articulated with one another: hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, funeral homes, cemeteries. We will furthermore examine the peculiar bodies of expert knowledge that have arisen in tandem with these institutional forms, among them gerontology, thanatology, and bereavement therapy, showing how they have conspired in the (bio)medicalization of aging, death, and grief. Other topics to be explored include the commodification and consumption of health and well-being; the emergence of anti-aging medicine and "popular" rationalities of human life extension; cryonic suspension, zombies, and the paranormal. [ more ]

    PHIL 337 TUT Justice in Health Care

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Justice is a notoriously complex and elusive philosophical concept, the conditions of which are even more difficult to articulate within real world institutions and contexts than in the abstract. In this course we'll explore justice as a fundamental moral principle and as a desideratum of the US health care system. The first portion of the course will be devoted to considering general theories of justice as well as alternative conceptions of justice specifically within the health care context. While social justice and distributive justice are deeply intertwined in the health care context and we will discuss both, we will focus primarily on the concept of distributive justice. This theoretically oriented work will provide the background for subsequent examination of specific topics, which may include, among others: justice in health care financing and reform; justice in health care rationing and access to health care, with particular attention to the intersections of rationing criteria with gender, sexuality, race, disability, and age; justice in the procurement and allocation of organs for transplantation; obesity and personal responsibility for illness; and justice in medical research, including "double standards" for research conducted in low resource settings. [ more ]

    PSYC 354(S) SEM Health Psychology

    In this course, students will contrast the traditional biomedical model of health with the biopsychosocial model with a goal of understanding how biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors influence health and well-being. We will explore psychological theory and research that targets health promotion, disease prevention, and management of chronic illness. Course readings will include empirical articles, excerpts from popular science books, and news/media articles on public health issues. Discussions will center on using the biopsychosocial model to better understand health processes (e.g., stress, tobacco use, physical inactivity) and outcomes (e.g., insomnia, diabetes, heart disease), with a special focus on health disparities among marginalized groups in the United States. Students also will learn about cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness-based treatments ("behavioral medicine") that promote healthy behavior and the management of chronic illness/disease (e.g., obesity, pain, HIV/AIDs). All students will design and conduct an empirical research project based on the course material. [ more ]

    SOC 371 / STS 371 LEC Medicine, Technology, and Modern Power

    Last offered Spring 2017

    Medicalization: those processes by which previously non-medical problems, once defined as ethical-religious, legal or social (e.g. drug and alcohol addition, shyness, obesity), are brought within the purview of medical science and redefined as medical problems, usually in terms of "illness" or "disorder." Part I: The history of the medicalization thesis; medicalization as a technical process; modern medicine as a form of social control; critiques of the medicalization thesis. Part II: From medicalization to biomedicalization; from the management of human life to the transformation of "life itself" by way of post-World War II technoscientific interventions aimed at "optimizing" human vitality. Empirical cases for consideration will be drawn from those technoscientific developments having made possible the work of optimization that defines biomedicalization: molecular biology, pharmacogenomics, biotechnologies, imaging techniques, robotics, and transplant medicine, among others. Finally, a consideration of how processes of biomedical optimization have produced new ways of seeing, knowing, and imagining human bodies, such that biology is increasingly less representative of "destiny" than it is of possibility. The course will to this end conclude with a survey of emerging issues in speculative technoscience and the ethics and politics of human enhancement. [ more ]

    HIST 374 LEC American Medical History

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course will cover major themes in American medical history and historiography from the colonial period through the twentieth century. Every aspect of American "medicine" underwent tremendous transition during the period we will study. Medical education, the medical profession, and notions about cures and care changed fundamentally, as did ideas about the nature of illness itself. Our course of study, in addition to charting ways in which the practice of medicine in America has developed, will make an equal effort to understand how medicine has changed and affected American society. Topics that we will investigate include cholera, TB, and childbirth in American society, as well as other medical phenomena. [ more ]

  • STS 115 AIDS: The Disease and Search for a Cure

    Last offered NA

    Since the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) in 1983, modern techniques of molecular biology have revealed much about its structure and life cycle. The intensity of the scientific investigation directed at HIV-1 is unprecedented in history. We now know more about this virus than any other known pathogen. However, the early optimism concerning the prospects for an effective AIDS vaccine has now waned and HIV strains that are resistant to drug therapies are common. We are now three decades into the AIDS pandemic and the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 34 million HIV-infected persons worldwide. After an introduction to chemical structure, we examine the molecular biology of the HIV virus, the molecular targets of anti-HIV drugs, and the prospects for a cure. We look at how HIV-1 interacts with the human immune system and discuss prospects for developing an effective HIV vaccine. [ more ]

    BIOL 133 LEC Biology of Exercise and Nutrition

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This class, intended for the non-scientist, focuses on the impact of exercise and nutrition on the human body. We will discuss topics such as how different types of training influence exercise performance; the changes that occur in the cardiovascular system during an exercise routine; the inherent limits of the body to perform aerobic and anaerobic tasks; and the long-term health consequences of a lifetime of activity of inactivity. We will also examine how nutrition and metabolism affect body composition. For example, we will rigorously and scientifically scrutinize the use of "fad" diets as a means to lose weight. [ more ]

    BIOL 134 / ENVI 134(F) LEC The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues

    Biology and Social Issues of the Tropics explores the biological dimensions of social and environmental issues in tropical societies, focusing specifically on the tropics of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Social issues are inextricably bound to human ecologies and their environmental settings. Each section of the course provides the science behind the issues and ends with options for possible solutions, which are debated by the class. The course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes while also emphasizing global interconnectedness. It begins with a survey of the tropical environment, including a global climate model, variation in tropical climates and the amazing biodiversity of tropical biomes. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria, AIDS and Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment, and global climate change. This course fulfills the DPE requirement. Through lectures, debates and readings, students confront social and environmental issues and policies from the perspective of biologists. This builds a framework for lifelong exploration of human diversity in terms of difference, power and equity. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    BIOL 136 SEM Studying Human Genetic Diversity: Individuals, Populations, and 'Races'--Dangerous Biology

    Last offered Spring 2014

    Scientists are rapidly acquiring DNA sequence information on thousands of individuals from a wide variety of human populations. This information can be used to illuminate human history and evolution. It can also be used in the field of medicine to develop new drugs and as a first step toward tailoring treatments to match individuals' genomes. This information can also create new ethical and social dilemmas. Do such studies support or refute the idea of a biological basis for 'race'? Can the data be used to justify societal inequities? Do the data have any use outside of scientific circles? Through reading scientific articles we'll explore genome sequencing data to determine the types of DNA differences that exist among humans. We'll examine the data in the light of human population history (migration, population bottlenecks, selection) to understand how these variations come about. Throughout we'll discuss the implications of these studies for individuals and for society. In particular we'll critique the use of such information in guiding policy and practice in areas such as genetic screening and eugenics, ancestry testing, 'race-based' medicine, forensics. [ more ]

    BIOL 219 TUT Dangerous Exposures: Environment, Immunity, and Infectious Disease

    Last offered Fall 2020

    Global reports of emerging infectious diseases and old diseases with new pathogenic properties incite fears for personal safety as well as national security. The specter of a contagious pandemic has captured the public imagination through the mass news media, movies, and even popular online and board games. In this tutorial course, we will explore the ecology and evolution of several recently emergent diseases such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, dengue, and AIDS. Topics to be considered include transmission dynamics, epidemiological modeling of vaccination strategies, and wildlife reservoirs that contribute to human virus exposure. We will examine progress in preventing the parasitic disease malaria and why such diseases have proven so refractory. We will also discuss the science behind the recent development of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, and the intriguing and highly unusual transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils. Finally, we will think about the contributions of inadequate diagnostic capacities world-wide and broader issues of resource shortages in driving the global emergence of drug resistance in tuberculosis and other diseases. One common theme in each of these case studies will be the interplay between the host immune response and the evolution of the pathogen. Although the primary focus of the course is on biology rather than policy, each week's readings will have implications for public health and/or conservation biology. [ more ]

    BIOL 313(S) LEC Immunology

    The rapidly evolving field of immunology examines the complex network of interacting molecules and cells that function to recognize and respond to agents foreign to the individual. In this course, we will focus on the biochemical mechanisms that act to regulate the development and function of the immune system and how alterations in different system components can cause disease. Textbook readings will be supplemented with current literature. [ more ]

    PSYC 313 / NSCI 313 SEM Opioids and the Opioid Crisis: The Neuroscience Behind an Epidemic

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Opioid misuse, including addiction, has emerged as a major health epidemic in the United States. This course will explore the science of opioids as well as the historical and societal context surrounding their use and abuse. We will examine the neurobiological mechanisms through which opioids interact with pain pathways and reward circuits within the brain and we will explore how changes in these systems contribute to opioid tolerance, dependence, and addiction. We will consider how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors can powerfully influence these processes. Finally, we will consider alternative approaches to pain management as well as interventions for the treatment of opioid abuse. Students will be expected to design and conduct an empirical project related to the course material. Critical evaluation of peer-reviewed primary literature from animal and human studies will serve as a foundation for class discussions. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, participation in discussions and empirical projects, written assignments, and a poster presentation of the empirical project. [ more ]

    BIOL 315 LEC Microbiology: Diversity, Cellular Physiology, and Interactions

    Last offered Spring 2022

    The Covid pandemic and the alarming spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria are but two of the reasons for the resurgence of interest in the biology of viruses and microorganisms. This course will examine microbes from the perspectives of cell structure and function, genomics, and evolution. A central theme will be the adaptation of bacteria as they evolve to fill specific ecological niches, with an emphasis on microbe: host interactions that lead to pathogenesis. We will consider communication among bacteria as well as between bacteria and their environment. Topics include: microbial development, population dynamics, metagenomics, bioremediation, plant and animal defenses against infection, and bacterial strategies to subvert the immune system. We will also discuss a few viral examples, including SARS-CoV2, in the context of pathogen-host co-evolution and the immune system. In the lab, major projects will focus on the mammalian gut microbiome and the isolation and characterization of bacteria from natural environments. The lab experience will culminate in multi-week independent investigations. Readings will be comprised primarily of articles from the primary literature. [ more ]

    PSYC 335(S) SEM Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    CHEM 341 / ENVI 341 LEC Toxicology and Cancer

    Last offered Spring 2018

    What is a poison and what makes it poisonous? Paracelcus commented in 1537: "What is not a poison? All things are poisons (and nothing is without poison). The dose alone keeps a thing from being a poison." Is the picture really this bleak; is modern technology-based society truly swimming in a sea of toxic materials? How are the nature and severity of toxicity established, measured and expressed? Do all toxic materials exert their effect in the same manner, or can materials be poisonous in a variety of different ways? Are the safety levels set by regulatory agencies low enough for a range of common toxic materials, such as mercury, lead, and certain pesticides? How are poisons metabolized and how do they lead to the development of cancer? What is cancer and what does it take to cause it? What biochemical defense mechanisms exist to counteract the effects of poisons?
    This course attempts to answer these questions by surveying the fundamentals of modern chemical toxicology and the induction and progression of cancer. Topics will range from description and quantitation of the toxic response, including risk assessment, to the basic mechanisms underlying toxicity, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and DNA repair.
    [ more ]

    CHEM 343 LEC Medicinal Chemistry

    Last offered Fall 2014

    This course explores the design, development, and function of pharmaceuticals. Fundamental concepts of organic chemistry are extended to the study of pharmacodynamics--the interactions between drugs and their targets that elicit a biological effect--and pharmacokinetics-the study of how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and eliminates drugs. The path of drug development is traced from discovery of an initial lead, through optimization of structure, to patenting and production. Mechanisms by which drugs target cell membranes, nucleic acids, and proteins are discussed. Drug interactions with enzyme and receptor targets are studied extensively. Specific drug classes selected for detailed analysis may include opiate analgesics, aspirin and other NSAIDs, antibacterial agents, cholinergic & adrenergic agents, CNS agents, as well as antiviral, antiulcer, and anticholesterol drugs. [ more ]

    BIOL 417 SEM Translational Immunology: From Bench to Bedside

    Last offered Spring 2022

    Recent advances in the field of immunology have led to the development of new approaches to prevent and treat diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Drugs that modulate the body's natural immune response have become powerful tools in treating major diseases--infection, autoimmunity and cancer. This course will use readings from the primary literature to explore central themes involved in translating basic research to new clinical and therapeutic approaches. Topics will include vaccine development, autoimmunity and cancer immunotherapy. [ more ]

  • ECON 205 SEM Public Economics

    Last offered Spring 2022

    This course examines the role of the government in the economy. We consider three broad issues: When should governments intervene in the economy? What is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives and behavior? In addition to a theoretical perspective, we will discuss particular government spending programs in the United States, including Social Security, various types of publicly-provided insurance, spending on education, and public assistance for the poor. Finally, we will study how the government raises revenue through taxation. We will discuss the principles that guide tax design and consider the effects of the tax code on behavior. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    PSCI 209 / WGSS 209(F) SEM Poverty in America

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    PSCI 228 LEC International Organization

    Last offered Spring 2022

    Tens of thousands of international organizations populate our world. IGOs, whose members are sovereign states, range from the Nordic Association for Reindeer Research to NATO and the UN; INGOs, whose members are private groups and individuals, include the International Seaweed Association as well as Doctors Without Borders. We will investigate theories about where they come from, what they do, and to whom they matter, and explore controversies surrounding their agency, legitimacy, efficiency, and accountability. We cover the history, structures and functions of international organizations using case studies. [ more ]

    ECON 230 LEC The Economics of Health and Health Care

    Last offered Spring 2022

    Health, health care, and economics intersect in important ways. Health is an essential component of individual well-being and a fundamental input to a productive economy, making its production a societal priority as well as an individual one. Health care expenditures make up substantial fractions of economic activity in developed countries; in the United States health care expenditures are nearly one-fifth of the national economy, raising questions of why health care spending is so high and whether the spending effectively produces better health. At the same time, health is about more than just health care; it is driven by many other factors, from individual behavior, to market forces, to government policy. In this course we will examine the economics of health by applying microeconomic analysis to the problems of health and health care provision. The course focuses on three broad areas: the inputs to health and the demand for health care; the structure and functioning of health care markets and the roles of key institutions; and the role of public policy in furthering individual and population health. Special attention will be devoted to topics of current policy interest, including health disparities, problems of health care costs and cost containment, health insurance reform and the Affordable Care Act, the role of public health interventions, and drug development and regulation. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of the challenges of health and health care into sharp focus, and we will examine the pandemic as a particularly instructive case study. [ more ]

    PSCI 249 / GBST 249 LEC From Beetroot to Zero Grazing: Comparative Response to AIDS in Africa

    Last offered Fall 2014

    As AIDS in African countries grew from a few cases in the mid-1980s to more generalized levels by the mid-1990s, government policy varied widely. Consider that while Kenyan medical officials denied the existence of AIDS (insisting that the four deaths reported in the press were due to skin cancer), in Senegal, President Diouf openly acknowledged AIDS and launched a national prevention and control program. South African President Mbeki and his health minister questioned whether HIV causes AIDS and suggested a garlic, beetroot, and lemon concoction as treatment, while in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni developed a successful home-grown `Zero Grazing' campaign. Why did some African governments respond early and aggressively to AIDS, while others did essentially the opposite? What has worked and what hasn't in the fight against AIDS in African countries? Has political liberalization improved the responsiveness of African governments to AIDS? In this course we aim to better understand how politics and social factors shaped African countries' responses to AIDS. [ more ]

    PSYC 326 SEM Choice and Decision Making

    Last offered Fall 2020

    Being human means that we sometimes make choices that we know are bad for us. In this course we survey theoretical and experimental approaches to understanding our strengths and weaknesses as decision makers. Topics include rationality, the debate over cognitive biases, fast and frugal heuristics, impulsivity and self-control, addictions and bad habits, paternalism, and moral decision making. [ more ]

    ECON 381(S) LEC Global Health Policy Challenges

    Poor health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It can trap individuals in poverty and reduce aggregate economic growth. This course will be structured around major global health challenges, including maternal health, infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, COVID), neglected tropical diseases (e.g malaria, dengue, Ebola), nutritional deficiencies, and mental health. We will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on health in low-income countries in this course. Students will read papers and conducted empirical assignments related to the various topics, as well as develop their own research idea during the semester related to one of the topics covered. [ more ]

    ECON 465(S) SEM Pollution and Labor Markets

    If your home town has polluted air, does that reduce your wage? Do you work less? Are you less likely to finish high school? These are specific instances of an important general question: how does pollution affect labor market outcomes? The answer matters for individual decisions (where to live) and government policies (air pollution regulations). This seminar begins from theories of optimizing worker behavior in the presence of pollution. Building on this foundation, we will critically evaluate new empirical research into the impacts of pollution on human capital, labor supply, and productivity. We will also study the impact of pollution regulations on wages and employment. Included papers will cover both developed and developing countries. [ more ]

    ECON 468 SEM Your Money or Your Life: Health Disparities in the United States

    Last offered Fall 2021

    A 25-year-old man living in a high-income household can expect to live 10 years longer than his low-income counterpart. There are also stark differences in mortality and health by race, education, employment status, region, and gender. This course will explore many of the potential explanations for health disparities, including access to insurance and health care, health behaviors, stress, environmental exposure, trust in institutions, and intergenerational transmission of health. We will emphasize causal inference and focus on assessing the quality of evidence. We will also investigate how government policies contribute to or ameliorate health disparities in the U.S. [ more ]

    ECON 504(F) SEM Public Economics in Developing Countries

    This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

  • PHLH 250 SEM Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Qualitative methods provide the opportunity to add in-depth meaning and context regarding research on individuals and the environments of study. This course introduces students to qualitative research theory in Public Health and gives them the opportunity to 'practice' three qualitative research methods; (1) in-depth interviewing, (2) focus groups and (3) participant observation. Students will have the opportunity to pilot each of these three qualitative research methods, analyze a subset of the data via qualitative analysis software, and design a qualitative research study (including the research instrument). We will cover best practices in reporting qualitative results (for the purposes of peer-reviewed publication) and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research in various domestic and international settings related to public health (such as nutrition, HIV and physical activity). [ more ]

    PHLH 255 SEM Research Methods in Public Health

    Last offered Spring 2019

    This course will introduce students to three common research methods utilized within Public Health: qualitative methods, survey methods and epidemiology. We will cover the basic research design process, integrating and comparing the qualitative methods of interviewing and focus groups, survey instrument design and pretesting as well as basic epidemiologic methods and concepts. Readings and discussions will engage with best practices in reporting these types of methods (for the purposes of peer-reviewed publication). Lastly, students will have the opportunity to design research instruments, pilot some of these methods, and analyze a subset of the data via analysis software. Students who have taken PHLH 250 should not enroll in PHLH 255. [ more ]

    ANTH 371 / STS 370 / WGSS 371(F) SEM Campus and Community Health in Disruptive Times

    This class engages with the methods of medical anthropology & medical sociology to help students design and implement ethnographic projects that explore health on campus or our wider community. Along the way we consider how disruptive moments like COVID-19 can reveal underlying social inequalities of healthcare access, health outcomes, and well-being; for which we propose innovative and student-focussed solutions. Students will learn and use design thinking, data visualization, and participatory ethnography while engaging with a variety of qualitative methods such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and qualitative surveys. We situate and explore our ethnographic projects within a campus and wider communities that are always already structured by power, privilege, and intersectional identities that shape health and well-being. We explore the field of narrative medicine and medical anthropology by developing and practicing skills in active listening, open dialogue, mindfulness, empathy, and curiosity that can profoundly shape ethnographic as well as the patient/provider encounters. For context, we read ethnographic case studies that explore a variety of topics including how structural racism and implicit bias shape clinical medicine & medical education in the US, how concepts of sexual citizenship can reshape our understanding of campus sexual assault, how the spread of US psychiatry has shaped a global landscape of mental health, and how queer activism responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the US. Our goals are to create participatory research projects that both explore and alter our habitual practices and individual ways of seeing the world around us. [ more ]

    MATH 410 / BIOL 214 TUT Mathematical Ecology

    Last offered Spring 2016

    Using mathematics to study natural phenomena has become ubiquitous over the past couple of decades. In this tutorial, we will study mathematical models comprised of both deterministic and stochastic differential equations that are developed to understand ecological dynamics and, in many cases, evaluate the dynamical consequences of policy decisions. We will learn how to understand these models through both standard analytic techniques such as stability and bifurcation analysis as well as through simulation using computer programs such as MATLAB. Possible topics include fisheries management, disease ecology, control of invasive species, and predicting critical transitions in ecological systems. [ more ]

    MATH 412(S) LEC Mathematical Biology

    This course will provide an introduction to the many ways in which mathematics can be used to understand, analyze, and predict biological dynamics. We will learn how to construct mathematical models that capture essential properties of biological processes while maintaining analytic tractability. Analytic techniques, such as stability and bifurcation analysis, will be introduced in the context of both continuous and discrete time models. Additionally, students will couple these analytic tools with numerical simulation to gain a more global picture of the biological dynamics. Possible biological applications include, but are not limited to, single and multi-species population dynamics, neural and biological oscillators, tumor cell growth, and infectious disease dynamics. [ more ]

    ECON 523 / ECON 379(S) SEM Program Evaluation for International Development

    Development organizations face strict competition for scarce resources. Both public and private organizations are under increasing pressure to use rigorous program evaluation in order to justify funding for their programs and to design more effective programs. This course is an introduction to evaluation methodology and the tools available to development practitioners, drawing on examples from developing countries. It will cover a wide range of evaluation techniques and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. The course is a mix of applied econometrics and practical applications covering implementation, analysis, and interpretation. You will learn to be a critical reader of evaluations, and to develop your own plan to evaluate an existing program of your choice. [ more ]

  • AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211 / SOC 211(S) LEC Race, Environment, and the Body

    This course is organized around three distinct, but overlapping, concerns. The first concern is how polluting facilities like landfills, industrial sites, and sewage treatment plants are disproportionately located in communities of color. The second concern is the underlying, racist rationales for how corporations, in collaboration with state agencies, plot manufacturers of pollution. The final concern is how the environmental crises outlined in the first two sections of the course are experienced in the body. In reviewing a range of Black cultural productions--like literature, scholarship, music, and film--we will not only consider how environmental disparities physically affect human bodies, but also how embodiments of eco-crises lend to imaginaries of the relationship between the self and the natural world. [ more ]

    BIOL 220 / ENVI 220(S) LEC Field Botany and Plant Natural History

    This field-lecture course covers the evolutionary and ecological relationships among plant groups represented in our local and regional flora. Lectures focus on the evolution of the land plants, the most recent and revolutionary developments in plant systematics and phylogeny, the cultural and economic uses of plants and how plants shape our world. The course covers the role of plants in ameliorating global climate change, their importance in contributing to sustainable food production and providing solutions to pressing environmental problems. Throughout we emphasize the critical role of biodiversity and its conservation. The labs cover field identification, natural history and the ecology of local species. [ more ]

    PHLH 220 SEM International Nutrition

    Last offered Fall 2020

    Global malnutrition continues to represent one of the most challenging issues of international development. Problems of both under- and overnutrition beginning as early as in utero can detrimentally influence the health, development and survival of resource-limited populations. This course introduces students to the most prevalent nutritional issues through a food policy perspective and exposes them to a wide variety of interventions, policies and current debates in the field of international nutrition. In addition to exploring the multi-level programmatic approaches for the prevention and treatment of the related nutritional problems, students will gain exposure and experience in program design and program proposal writing. Readings will involve both real-world programmatic documents/evaluations as well as peer-reviewed journal articles. Examples will be drawn from Africa, Asia and Latin America. [ more ]

    ENVI 230 SEM Geographies of Food Justice

    Last offered Spring 2022

    Recent scholarship & reporting clearly show inequalities of race, class, & gender in access to adequate, nutritious, & culturally appropriate food. Observers often call poor, segregated urban areas food deserts, evoking a landscape dominated by fast food & devoid of vegetables. Farmer & food sovereignty activist Leah Penniman instead refers to these places as experiencing food apartheid to emphasize that the inequalities are the result of structural racism. Notably, deserts & apartheid are both spatial metaphors, referring not only to the environments in which people eat, but also the systems of social, political, & economic power that define those places. This course considers the relationship between food, power, & geography by looking at such places. We ask: How does where people eat shape what they eat? What can we learn about structural racism & settler colonialism by looking at the diverse sites of food insecurity? How do people experience a globalized food system in uniquely localized ways? How do struggles over land & labor shape the possibilities for justice in the food system? Does it matter where our food is produced? We begin with an exploration of the concepts of food security, sovereignty, and justice. Subsequent units include a critical reevaluation of the concept of food deserts, drawing on works by scholars who question the term's usefulness. Next, we consider disruptions to indigenous hunting & fishing practices from settler colonialism-induced climate change & toxic contamination. Finally, we evaluate evidence about whether local food is the solution to the social and environmental problems with our food systems. We will read works by geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, planners, & journalists, among others. Several "lab" sessions throughout the semester introduce participants to data analysis tools used by policymakers and activists working on food security and justice. [ more ]

    Taught by: April Merleaux

    Catalog details

    ENVI 246 / AMST 245 / HIST 265 SEM Race, Power, & Food History

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Have you ever wondered why Spam is so popular in Hawaii and why Thai food is available all across the United States? Are you curious why black-eyed peas and collards are considered "soul food"? In this course, we will answer these questions by digging in to the histories of global environmental transformation through colonialism, slavery, and international migration. We will consider the production and consumption of food as a locus of power over the last 300 years. Beginning with the rise of the Atlantic slave trade and continuing through the 20th century, we trace the global movement of plants, foods, flavors, workers, businesses, and agricultural knowledge. Major units include rice production by enslaved people in the Americas; Asian American food histories during the Cold War; and fat studies critiques of obesity discourse. We will discuss food justice, food sovereignty, and contemporary movements for food sustainability in the context of these histories and our contemporary world. Readings are interdisciplinary, but our emphasis will be on historical analyses of race, labor, environment, health, and gender. [ more ]

    Taught by: April Merleaux

    Catalog details

    BIOL 308(S) LEC Integrative Plant Biology: Fundamentals and New Frontiers

    Plants are one of the most successful groups of organisms on Earth and have a profound impact on all life. Successful use of plants in addressing global problems and understanding their role in natural ecosystems depends on fundamental knowledge of the molecular mechanisms by which they grow, develop, and respond to their environment. This course will examine the molecular physiology of plants using an integrative approach that considers plants as dynamic, functional units in their environment. Major emphasis will be on understanding fundamental plant processes, such as photosynthesis, growth and development, water transport, hormone physiology, and flowering, from the molecular to the organismal level. Environmental effects on these processes will be addressed in topics including photomorphogenesis, stress physiology, mineral nutrition, and plant-microbe interactions. Discussions of original research papers will examine the mechanisms plants use to perform these processes and explore advances in the genetic engineering of plants for agricultural, environmental, and medical purposes. Laboratory activities stress modern approaches and techniques used in investigating plant physiological processes. [ more ]

    ENVI 308 SEM Science and Politics in Environmental Decision Making

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This course explores the relationship between science and politics in environmental decision-making. How do legislators know when a species is endangered and warrants protection? What precautions should be applied in allowing genetically modified foods onto our plates? Can we, and should we, weigh the risks of malaria against the impacts of pesticides used to control those mosquitoes that transmit the disease? How has the global community come together to understand the risks from global climate change, and how has this understanding shaped our policy responses? What are some of the limits of science in shaping policy outcomes? In addressing these and other questions, we will pay particular attention to how power relations and existing institutions shape what knowledge, and whose knowledge, is taken on board in decision-making, be it at the local, national or global level. We will delve into how these dynamics shape policy outcomes and we will also examine novel approaches for incorporating the knowledge of traditionally disempowered groups, including indigenous and local communities. [ more ]

  • STS 102 / WGSS 103 TUT Breeding Controversy: Technologies and Ideologies of Population Control

    Last offered Fall 2021

    What is "good breeding?" For whom is birth control "liberating?" This course traces the surprising ways that concepts of population growth and decline from the natural sciences come to inform social discourses on "overpopulation" in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Science and politics mix to decide: who should be able to reproduce--and, consequently, who might not be born--so that some may live more prosperously? By studying the history of eugenics movements, contraceptive technologies in the context of development, and the racialized cultures of reproductive medicine, we will analyze how scientific ways of thinking about human lives reflect and reproduce social inequities. We will use the tools of feminist technoscience studies to understand how science, culture, power, and politics intersect to create new technologies of "selection" that are far from natural. New literatures in critical race STS, black feminist thought, and critical theory will inform our discussions. [ more ]

    Taught by: Shoan Yin Cheung

    Catalog details

    REL 248 / ANTH 248 / ASIA 248 / GBST 248 / WGSS 249 SEM Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia. [ more ]

    ANTH 272 / WGSS 272 SEM Sex and the Reproduction of Society

    Last offered Fall 2014

    Why is reproduction such a controversial subject in society today, especially in areas of medicine, culture, and religion? And why is the reproductive body subject to such highly ideological and yet contradictory types of practices and discourses across the globe? This course seeks to examine the myriad ways that societies police the range of practices surrounding reproduction--including fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, abortion, and motherhood. We will pursue a comparative analysis of reproduction across major societies and cultures, through an in-depth look at specialized topics such as the new reproductive technologies, the medicalization and ritualization of obstetrics in America, the continuing controversies over abortion across the globe, and the ongoing debates about the rise of women and the 'End of Men'. Throughout the course, we remain focused on the cultural, social, and medical construction of birth and reproduction more generally. To this end, we explore the varying ritual and medical practices that surround reproduction in different cultural contexts, from high tech to low tech settings and societies. We will deconstruct the process of human reproduction through readings culled from a variety of cultures and disciplines including anthropology, medicine, religious studies, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. [ more ]

    PHLH 310 SEM Equity in Health

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Equity in health has been defined as inequalities in health outcomes based on irrelevant social characteristics. The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 highlight equity in health as a main focus and key to achieving social sustainability. This course will introduce students to the concept of equity in health, and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the pathways to unequal health outcomes. The social determinants of health and how they translate to uneven outcomes will be explored and discussed. There will also be a special focus on gender and gender-based violence as a driver of ill health. How to reduce inequity in health will be discussed and debated. Readings will involve some of the classic texts on health equity as well as recent explorations of the area. [ more ]

    Taught by: Mats Målqvist

    Catalog details

    PSYC 335(S) SEM Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    PSYC 352 SEM Clinical and Community Psychology

    Last offered Fall 2018

    This course provides an overview of theory, methods, and professional issues in the fields of clinical and community psychology (and related fields). In addition to academic work (primary source readings and class discussions), students are encouraged to apply their experiences in academic psychology to field settings, and to use their fieldwork experience to critically evaluate theory and research. The course includes a supervised field-work placement arranged by the instructor in a local mental health or social service agency. Students must complete a brief survey about their interests and schedule in order to place them in an agency. Students should email the instructor to obtain the survey as well as receive permission to register for this course. [ more ]

    PSYC 358(S) SEM Developmental Psychopathology: Trajectories of Risk and Resilience

    Why do some youth develop psychopathology in the face of adversity whereas others do not? How do we define psychological disorders in youth? Is resilience a static trait, or can it be promoted? How do we prevent youth from developing psychopathology? In this course, students will address these and other questions using a risk and resilience framework that examines the interactions among multiple risk and protective factors in the pathway to psychopathology. Specifically, students will examine the interactions between individual characteristics (e.g., neurobiological, interpersonal, cognitive, and emotional factors) and environmental contexts (e.g., family, school, peer, early adversity, poverty) in the development of risk and resiliency. Application of etiological models and empirical findings to prevention and intervention approaches will be explored. Throughout the course, students will evaluate current research based upon theory, methodological rigor, and clinical impact. [ more ]

  • PSCI 209 / WGSS 209(F) SEM Poverty in America

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211 / SOC 211(S) LEC Race, Environment, and the Body

    This course is organized around three distinct, but overlapping, concerns. The first concern is how polluting facilities like landfills, industrial sites, and sewage treatment plants are disproportionately located in communities of color. The second concern is the underlying, racist rationales for how corporations, in collaboration with state agencies, plot manufacturers of pollution. The final concern is how the environmental crises outlined in the first two sections of the course are experienced in the body. In reviewing a range of Black cultural productions--like literature, scholarship, music, and film--we will not only consider how environmental disparities physically affect human bodies, but also how embodiments of eco-crises lend to imaginaries of the relationship between the self and the natural world. [ more ]

    STS 215 / GBST 217 SEM Viral Inequality: Power and Difference in Pandemics

    Last offered Fall 2020

    From contested data to controversial containment strategies, the shape and course of pandemics are influenced at every level by the question: Who matters? Whose lives are prioritized and protected? Whose expertise is made actionable, and why? Focusing on the uneven distribution of risk and care during pandemics, this course explores how global health emergencies are not states of exception, but rather events that lay bare the priorities and interests of their host societies. Our investigation into pandemics--including Black Death, cholera, "Spanish" flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and novel coronaviruses--will provide a critical entry point into understanding the social, political, and economic processes that shape health interventions and outcomes, and their divergences along lines of social difference. We will ground our discussion and analysis using key concepts in Science & Technology Studies, while drawing from critical medical anthropology, disability studies, theories of capitalism and disaster studies to enrich our conversation. [ more ]

    Taught by: Shoan Yin Cheung

    Catalog details

    WGSS 230 / AFR 230 SEM Gender, Sexuality, and Global HIV/AIDS

    Last offered Fall 2017

    The global pandemic of HIV/AIDS is now entering into its fourth decade. Throughout this history sexuality, gender and race and inequality have played a central role in the spread of the virus, and its apparent entrenchment in certain communities. This class will use a gendered, interdisciplinary perspective to investigate the pandemic's social, economic and political causes, impact, and conundrums--the problems it poses for scholarship, activism, public policy, and public health. Issues discussed will include the role of transaction sex and economic structures in both susceptibility to HIV and vulnerability to its impact; stigma and its challenges for HIV prevention, testing and treatment uptake; the role of positive youth in the next stages of the pandemic; and the evolving expressions of biopower in the global AIDS response. The class will look at examples of successful policies and activism as well as the failures, corruption and complacency that have characterized the global pandemic. There will be a particular geographical focus on experiences in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. [ more ]

    REL 269 / ANTH 269 / ASIA 269 / STS 269(F) TUT Mindfulness Examined: Meditation, Emotion, and Affective Neuroscience

    This course provides a social analysis of and practical engagement with mindfulness in the US today. It considers the modern applications of Buddhist meditation as a tool to improve awareness of the related processes of mind, behavior, and emotions within landscapes structured by racism, sexism, and other systemic inequalities. We consider how mindfulness relates to Buddhist discourses as well as the rapid rise of fields like contemplative neuroscience, affective neuroscience, and integrative neurobiology. How can mindfulness help people communicate more effectively--be they doctors or patients, teachers or students?How has the exploding research on mindfulness and meditation since 2000 help us understand the intersection of human emotions, behaviors, and relationships? We train in a variety of Buddhist meditation practices through the semester including forest bathing, mindfulness, compassion meditation, while unpacking the subjective experience of our minds and emotions first-hand. Students will be asked to train in mindfulness practices the entire semester while studying models of the mind developed by research in clinical and evolutionary psychology, affective neuroscience, and interpersonal neuroscience. [ more ]

    PHLH 310 SEM Equity in Health

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Equity in health has been defined as inequalities in health outcomes based on irrelevant social characteristics. The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 highlight equity in health as a main focus and key to achieving social sustainability. This course will introduce students to the concept of equity in health, and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the pathways to unequal health outcomes. The social determinants of health and how they translate to uneven outcomes will be explored and discussed. There will also be a special focus on gender and gender-based violence as a driver of ill health. How to reduce inequity in health will be discussed and debated. Readings will involve some of the classic texts on health equity as well as recent explorations of the area. [ more ]

    Taught by: Mats Målqvist

    Catalog details

    PHLH 351(F) TUT Racism in Public Health

    In the face of a global pandemic and increased police brutality, states and counties across the nation have declared racism a public health crisis. This push to identify systemic racism as a high priority in public health action and policy is an important symbolic and political move. It names the faults of histories, systems and institutions but also brings to the spotlight the individual and community responsibility to dismantle racism in the US. In this tutorial, we will examine racism in public health policy, practice and research through an investigation of several mediums of evidence and information, ranging from peer reviewed literature to news editorials, podcasts and documentaries. We will explore specific pathways by which racism functions in the disciplines of biostatistics, epidemiology, social & behavioral sciences, health policy & management and environmental health sciences while also examining the dynamics of power and history in research and community practice. We will also gain skills in speaking across differences and articulation of how our own perceptions and lived experiences of race and racism impact our study of public health. This tutorial will most likely elicit uncomfortable and hard conversations about race and requires an openness to self-reflection and the practice of listening and articulation. [ more ]

    PSYC 356(F) SEM Asylum: Understanding the Psychological Effects of Persecution, Trauma, and the Migration Experience

    Asylum is a specific form of humanitarian relief granted to an individual who can legally establish a history of previous persecution, or fear of future persecution, on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. What are the psychological effects of being physically and emotionally persecuted because of who you are, what you believe, and/or your identity? Using the framework of asylum, we will study the effects of persecution, loss, and displacement on mental health and well-being, and the psychological impacts of traumatic stress and of seeking asylum in the United States. Through close reading of empirical studies, case studies, narratives, and legal writing, we will consider the psychological outcomes most frequently reported by asylum seekers, as well as the effects of traumatic stress on attachment and interpersonal relationships, family functioning and the capacity for recovery and post-traumatic growth. We will explore various types of persecution (e.g., gender-based violence, gang-violence, political persecution, and family separation) and their global health context. Finally, we will examine the social determinants, legal frameworks, and social justice implications of therapeutic interventions and resettlement. Students will also explore the clinical literature on psychological outcomes and how this research is informing both psychotherapy and social service interventions in the US and humanitarian settings across the globe. Guest speakers will punctuate our time over the semester, so that students can understand the role of lawyers, clinicians (medical and psychological) and global mental health researchers in addressing issues of forced displacement. [ more ]

    ECON 380 / ECON 519 LEC Population Economics

    Last offered Spring 2021

    This course is an introduction to the economic analysis of demographic behavior and the economic consequences of demographic change. An important aim is to familiarize students with historical and contemporary trends in fertility, mortality, migration, and family composition, and the implications of these trends for the economy. The course demonstrates the application of microeconomic theory to demographic behavior, including fertility, marriage, and migration. Students are introduced to basic techniques of demographic measurement and mathematical demography. Selected topics include the economic consequences of population growth in developing countries, the economics of fertility and female labor force participation, the effects of an older age structure on the social security system, and the relationship between population growth and natural resources. [ more ]

    ECON 468 SEM Your Money or Your Life: Health Disparities in the United States

    Last offered Fall 2021

    A 25-year-old man living in a high-income household can expect to live 10 years longer than his low-income counterpart. There are also stark differences in mortality and health by race, education, employment status, region, and gender. This course will explore many of the potential explanations for health disparities, including access to insurance and health care, health behaviors, stress, environmental exposure, trust in institutions, and intergenerational transmission of health. We will emphasize causal inference and focus on assessing the quality of evidence. We will also investigate how government policies contribute to or ameliorate health disparities in the U.S. [ more ]